Ohio State aims for 7th straight win over Michigan

Michigan hopes to spoil Ohio State’s plans to win a seventh
straight game in the rivalry known as The Game, and at least a
share of a record-tying sixth straight Big Ten title.

”It would be great,” linebacker Obi Ezeh said. ”It would be
awesome.”

It’s probably unlikely.

The Wolverines will be overmatched Saturday, especially on
defense, against a powerhouse program on the road.

Soon after the Buckeyes rallied from a seven-point deficit in
the fourth quarter to win at Iowa on Saturday, their attention
shifted to Michigan.

”Everybody in the locker room after the game was amped,” Ohio
State tight end Reid Fragel said. ”We could have played another
game right after this, it felt like.

”It’s a positive in every way, and we’re looking forward to
beating Michigan.”

Coach Jim Tressel has made beating Michigan his primary focus
since he was hired, and he’s lost only one of nine matchups – in
2003 against former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr.

After the emotional win over the Hawkeyes, Tressel hoped his
players could celebrate it longer.

”I wish they had time to enjoy it, but they don’t because we
got the biggest game of all,” Tressel said.

The stakes are not as high for Michigan (7-4, 3-4) as they are
for the Buckeyes (10-1, 6-1), who are in a first-place tie in the
conference with Michigan State and Wisconsin.

The Wolverines are relegated to playing the role of spoiler
against the Buckeyes. Again.

Unlike the first two years under Rich Rodriguez, though,
Michigan is bowl-eligible and has a chance to improve its
postseason positioning if it can pull off one of the bigger upsets
of the storied series.

”You always say all the games mean the same, but this one means
a little bit more,” Wolverines tight end Kevin Koger said.

Michigan’s last game – the home finale for its seniors – had
significance, but it didn’t seem to make a difference for a team
that dug a 24-0 hole in the first half against Wisconsin and lost
48-28.

Rodriguez is relying on a lot of freshman on defense, but
insisted that doesn’t make the upcoming task in the Horseshoe more
daunting.

”It’s a challenge anyway, that’s a talented team at a tough
place to play,” he said. ”We’re going to have to have a few more
guys grow up in a hurry.”